No surprises here. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats today announced that they had traded quarterback – formerly starting quarterback – Zach Collaros to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in return for the 10th overall draft pick. Also changing hands were an assorted box of Tim Hortons donuts and two six-packs of Pilsener.
The question was never whether Collaros would be traded, nor when, but to whom.
Ticats Trade Zach Collaros to Riders, Surprising No One
Something for the Tiger-Cats
It’s not like there’s nothing at all in the deal for the Ticats. They are now set to dominate the draft, owning four of the top 15 picks in 2018. With June Jones taking over as head coach late last season, this is an opportunity for him to put a long-term stamp on his team. While it’s likely that Jones will need more than a few fresh faces to build on the lacklustre 2017 squad, picking up a few young legs won’t hurt.
And of course, there’s the re-emergence of Johnny Manziel in the picture. The league issued a statement between Christmas and New Year’s indicating that Manziel had been cleared to play in the league. Hamilton holds Manziel’s rights until January 7, 2018. If they are clearing the decks in advance of his signing, then ousting Collaros only makes sense. Whether they want to deal with drama that continues to buzz around Manziel like a cloud of prairie mosquitoes is, of course, a different question.
And Something for the Riders
It’s a good move for the Riders, too. Their current quarterbacking squad includes seasoned veteran (read: old man) Kevin Glenn, who could retire at any minute (and pick up a job as quarterbacks coach somewhere, most likely). There’s untested young Canuck Brandon Bridge, who has only just put a toe in the water as a top-level CFL pivot. And there’s a trio of American options who will rotate between practice squad and, at best, third banana.
But the real question mark sits by Collaros’s name. If he’s at his best, then yes, he can hold his own against any other quarterback in the league. He was the Ticats’ most outstanding player pick in 2014 and 2015, and he shows flashes of brilliance even in his most disappointing game. He gives the impression of a player who is desperate to break through.
However, after an ACL tear in 2015, Collaros has noticeably lost a step. He is no longer a mobile threat, running outside the pocket and nailing a long, sharp pass to a wide receiver. He doesn’t even seem to have the sense of the game he once did, leading to sacks and broken plays. He’s not clearly a starting quarterback any more, if other options are available.
The start of the 2018 campaign is still a long way off, and there’s a lot of horse trading yet to come. It’s a little satisfying that Collaros has been picked up – no one expected him to be in black and gold after his disastrous half-season in 2017.
So everyone saw it coming. The question is, what’s next?
Embed from Getty Images